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F3 European

Vips heads to Spa just 12 points off the lead in FIA F3

Jüri Vips

#21 Jüri Vips (EST – Hitech Grand Prix Mecachrome Dallara)
FIA F3 Championship position: 2nd – 112 points – after 10 of 16 races

#4 Liam Lawson (NZL – MP Motorsport Mecachrome Dallara)
FIA F3 Championship position: 10th – 22 points – after 10 of 16 races

#14 Yuki Tsunoda (JAP – Jenzer Motorsport Mecachrome Dallara)
FIA F3 Championship position: 12th – 17 points – after 10 of 16 races

Estonian 19-year-old Jüri Vips leads the Red Bull Junior trio to Spa with his sights firmly set on the FIA F3 Championship. Liam Lawson and Yuki Tsunoda have their own battles to fight and don't count them out for a race win but it is Lawson who has a great shot at the big prize with six races remaining.

No one has won more than two of the first ten races this season and Vips has done that. He is second in the title chase, 12 points off the lead. 17-year-old New Zealander Lawson has a 3rd from Race 2 at Silverstone and Tsunoda, the 19-year-old Japanese, was 6th last time out in Hungary.

At 7.004km Spa-Francorchamps is the longest circuit on the FIA Formula 3 calendar and it is the final time we will see Pirelli's medium compound tyre this season, with the final two races of the season in Italy and Russia both using the soft compound.

Vips happy with Spa's corners and climate

"It looks kind of sunny this morning but we know that it can all change here," enthused Vips on Thursday. "The weather is unpredictable and that's good for me, I like it when we have to respond to changes."

"Also I like the track very much, certainly one of the favourites, high speed sections, elevation changes, hard corners, it's got everything."

"I am happy with the way that everything is coming together. We were struggling a little in the races at the Hungaroring but we have a pretty good idea why and don't think it will repeated. The Quali pace has been good, we are happy with that so all round we are expecting a good weekend," concluded the Hitech Grand Prix driver.

Lawson would like some rain

"It rained yesterday but it is dry this morning," said Lawson on Thursday. "Some rain would be nice, we really haven't had much this year and I would like to see some, it should even things out a bit and give us a bit more of a chance."

"It's a really nice track, I love driving round here and having done the Euroformula race obviously helps with circuit knowledge but the F3 car is so different that there is still a lot to learn, the power and weight make it quite different," explained the MP Motorsport driver.

"Sections that in the Euroformula car are flat are not going to be in the F3 car, plus you are driving that car flat out through the race while in the F3 car you have got to do a lot more tyre management so it really is all very different and I know that I am still learning."

Tsunoda knows the track and what needs to be done

"I really like the track and I think that the experience I got driving the Euroformula car will certainly help but of course it will be a lot different in the F3 car," explained Honda Formula Dream Project driver Tsunoda.

"Again there is not so much practice at the F3 races and for me it is all about Qualifying, that is where we have been having the problems in F3. We can improve the car but also I must improve my driving, mistakes in Qualifying have cost me a lot in recent races."

"I should qualify at least in the top 10 but really better, top 5. Then we can have a good result because race pace has not been too bad, quite good. So my focus is on that and I am looking forward to it," enthused the Jenzer Motorsport driver.


Spa weekend schedule – all times Central European Summer Time (CEST)
Friday 30th August
09:35 – Practice (45 minutes)
17:50 – Qualifying (30 minutes)

Saturday 31st August
10:35 – Race 1 (17 laps)

Sunday 1st September
09:45 – Race 2 (17 laps)